Pleades prison foundation conference 051012


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USQ is developing and piloting a version of our Learning Management System (LMS) called Self-contained Moodle (an internet-independent version of the USQ student’s StudyDesk) that can operate independently without needing an internet connection. SAM will enable students to view and use the course materials and learning support features of the USQ LMS in a simulated online environment without having any possibility of gaining access to the internet. We are also investigating using eBook readers, which have no wireless or 3G connectivity capabilities, for students to access course and reference materials in order to extend learning beyond the computer lab and into personal and leisure time (for example, after routine daily lock-down). This paper presents an overview of the project and discusses some of the issues and early findings encountered.

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Pleades prison foundation conference 051012

  1. 1. USQ Open Access CollegeAustralian Digital Futures InstituteSerco: Southern Queensland Correctional CentreQueensland Corrective Services
  2. 2. Incarcerated offenders face a number of challenges additional to those faced bymost other students studying at a distance. Lack of internet access is especially problematic for those studying in a sector thatis increasingly characterised by online course offerings.
  3. 3. The learning landscape is changing…Increased online course Difficulties providing provision equivalent learning experiences to students Digital learning without internet access environments Interactivity and Difficult for incarcerated collaboration students to develop the skills required for successElimination of exceptions in future employment or handling study Withdrawal of support Further exclusion of thefor incarcerated students already socially excluded
  4. 4. The project consists of 2 components: Stand Alone Moodle e-Readers (SAM)• Internet-independent version of • Coursework materials the USQ StudyDesk • Relevant library resources• Loaded directly onto a virtual computer within the education • Provided to students to take centre’s computer network back to their cells• No access to prison computers • No access to 3G or Wi-Fi or outside world • No SD card slot • No removable batteries
  5. 5. Stand Alone Moodle (SAM)• Offline course content• Replication of USQ’s study environment• Research & digital literacy skills• Engagement & collaboration• Comparable experience
  6. 6. E-Readers• Extends learning beyond the computer lab into personal time.• Ownership of own research and learning.• Advanced search skills.• Experience with digital technology and digital literacy skills.
  7. 7. Project Prototype• Trial project• 17 students• Southern Queensland Correctional Centre in Gatton.• TPP7120 Studying to Succeed within the Tertiary Preparation Program.• Prospective students over 18 and can’t gain entry via traditional pathways.• Trial commences in Semester 2, 16 June 2012.
  8. 8. • Thinking and reflection • Conversation and interaction • Experience and activity • Evidence and demonstrationSource: Conole, G. (2008) New Schemas for Mapping Pedagogies and Technologies. Retrieved from
  9. 9. Initial FindingsInitial responses from students and education officers has beenpositive: • “The students progression with the E-Readers has been slow and steady but they are thrilled with being able to use them at their leisure to study”. • “The Students have had access to the E-Readers for a longer period of time and have become very comfortable with their use they also find during times of lock down they are very convent to use for study THEY LOVE THEM”. • “The Study Desk was warmly welcomed by the students they were ecstatic that they could have access to THEIR University I believe the Moodle programme will only lead to better completion percentages in correctional centres”. (Comments from the SQCC Education Officer)
  10. 10. Greatest Challenges• Ensuring regular access for students to the computer lab• A degree of computer literacy is required• Aversion to group work and motivation to work on the computers on a regular basis (breaking moulds)• ICT support within the corrections centre, password control and security• Restrictions regarding ICT and servers
  11. 11. A note from Serco• The IT Issues• The prisoner experience• Staff Training• SERCO-USQ..Partnership
  12. 12. Questions? “From a scholarly perspective, prison education reduces recidivism, enhances life skills, and is a cost-effective method of crime reduction…” But from a humane and ethical perspective, prison education allows those who want to change their lifestyle the opportunity to do so.” Christopher Zoukis , former prisoner and contemporary authorSource: /